Now that its fall, it’s time for our playlists to sound less like summer festivals and more like rainy days spent at Richter. Check out these 3 debut albums coming out this fall in the US by UK artists who have already made a statement in the UK.
Bastille – Bad Blood – September 3
Are you sick of pop songs borrowing fame by referencing current trends? Bastille (an appropriate name for a band who is about to raid the music scene) refreshingly transforms timeless events from your history textbooks into catchy hooks in “Bad Blood”. With each song, Dan Smith, the band’s singer, songwriter, and producer, humanizes stories, effectively turning tragic events into relatable feelings. (If he weren’t a musician, he says he would be writing film reviews – a cinematic penchant which shines through in the band’s music videos).
While remaining loyal to the classic band image with their white converses, leather jackets, and intentional hair styles, everything from their quirky interviews to their intellectual venues is refreshingly original. Who else can brag about performing at the Pompeii exhibit at The British Museum, or at Le Petit Palais in Paris?
Unlike virtually every other band in its genre, Bastille chooses not to use guitars in its recordings, opting to challenge themselves to find creative ways to give their mixes body, such as by building multiple layers of vocals and synths, using a ridiculous amount of toms and incorporating live orchestras. Bastille’s heroic mix of cinematic lyrics, pop-with-attitude arrangement, and narrative music videos all make for a winning sound that is balanced by their passionate yet shy personality.
Tom Odell – Long Way Down – September 17
In a multi-platform digital world where mindless tweets can betray soulful lyrics and product placement can poison artistic music videos, phony musicians are easy to catch. For the same reason though, honest artists stand out. They don’t even have to try to be consistent across their lyrics, their music and their social media. These truly whole artists are the ones that stutter in interviews when trying desperately to quantify the mad joy that is their art. The ones that are humbly stupefied as their albums climb to the top next to their heroes. The ones that would not seem out of place sitting in a home library, surrounded by dusty books and vinyl record players. This is Tom Odell. Not only does the 22- year-old Londoner play piano like a master puppeteer delicately pulling strings and sings like a school boy in a choir whose heart was just broken for the first time, he also possesses an entire persona that is elegant in its integrity. His hair is ungeled and untamed, his chambray shirt drapes over his skinny legs and his shy smile reveals his boyish teeth. This poetic nonchalance is consistent in his social media. I dare you to find a single photograph or video in which he is not wearing his (now impeccably-scuffed) leather chelsea boots. And his poetic photographs of sunsets over Shanghai and spiderwebs glowing in the sun prove that Instagram represents more to a musician than a vain medium for posting selfies and album promos.
This guy is so real and talented, it’s haunting. His music videos are textbook simple but are vehicles for raw emotion. “Sense” feels like he just wrote the song in his bare-lightbulb-lit room with the hand scribbled music notes still on the piano, the intimate performance making any listener accomplice to his pain.
And with his resume of working with Burberry, opening for The Rolling Stones and Elton John and winning a Brit Award, its likely this debut is just a glimpse of great things to come.
Disclaimer: listening to his music on a rainy, lonely night may result in tears.
Kodaline – In a Perfect World – October 8th
Mix Mumford and Son’s nostalgic verses with The Script’s determined choruses and you get the folk-infused pop that is the Irish band Kodaline. Their sound is anything but recycled yet it is powerfully déjà vu. You know that feeling when you take a polaroid picture and as you start to see the faces of your friends appear on the film, you feel like that moment happened 10 years ago instead of 10 seconds ago? As if the vintage, quasi-sepia tone somehow condensed and brought out all the memories you’ve invested in those faces? That’s what Kodaline sounds like. Not just an ode to the past but an ode to your past.
With the high pitched electric-guitars deepened by the warm acoustic strumming, and the heart-warming details like the analog metronome and music-box-like pianos counterbalanced by intense rock-ballad bridges, ”In a Perfect World” is nostalgic optimism.